TOS-1A Solntsepek in Ukraine

The other day it became known that heavy flamethrower systems TOS-1A «Solntsepek» were involved in the Special Military Operation. Such equipment is used to destroy enemy and various facilities over large areas. The TOS-1A is distinguished by its high characteristics and special combat capabilities, and therefore its appearance virtually predetermines the outcome of the battle.

Combat employment

On March 20, the People’s Militia Republic of Donetsk published a video showing the combat operation of the Russian “Solntsepek” near Mariupol. It showed the process of loading the launch device and the subsequent advance of the system to a firing position.

TOS-1A Solntsepek in Ukraine

In all likelihood, combat use of the TOS-1A will continue. The enemy still has some strongholds and other similar complexes and facilities at its disposal. All types of artillery can be used to destroy them, including rocket systems with special munitions. Practice has already confirmed their high firepower and effectiveness.

Technical specifics

The TOS-1A is actually a specialized multiple launch rocket system. It differs from other domestic MLRS systems by its specific ammunition, which is an unguided rocket with a volumetric detonating or incendiary warhead. It is the heavy rocket with such munition that determines the combat characteristics and capabilities of the flamethrower system.

The TOS-1A “Solntepek” was developed in the early 2000s on the basis of the TOS-1 “Buratino” production system. A number of small but important modifications were made to the original design, determined by the results of its operation. Later on, the development of a new munition and other ways to improve overall performance were reported.

The self-propelled launcher and the transport and loader vehicle from the “Solntsepek” are made on the chassis of the T-72 main tank. The standard anti-munitions armor and additional protection are retained. At the same time the tank’s fighting compartment with the turret is replaced with new units. On the fighting vehicle this is a movable base with a launcher, and on the transport and loader vehicle the ammunition mounts with armor casings and a crane are used.

TOS-1A Solntsepek in Ukraine

The TOS-1A fighting vehicle a launcher with a package of 24 rails. Compared to the basic model, their number has been reduced, but at the expense of this has been strengthened armor protection. The launcher is controlled by a specially designed fire control system. It includes a set of sensors, laser rangefinder and ballistic calculator. Due to this the maximum possible accuracy of fire is ensured within the whole range. The firing preparation is carried out with the help of remote control systems.

The TOS-1A employs unguided 220 mm solid-propellant rockets of the MO.1.01.04 series. Various modifications are equipped with bulk explosive or incendiary warheads. The first variants of rockets were capable of a range of up to 3.6 km. Later improved modifications were developed with a range of 6 km. The area of solid destruction by a full salvo of 24 projectiles is up to 35-40 thousand sq. m.

Weight of the fighting vehicle is 46 tons. In terms of mobility and protection it does not differ from the serial T-72. It is controlled by a crew of three people. Transport and loader vehicle «Solntsepek» is several tons lighter and has the same running characteristics. It carries an additional ammunition of 24 missiles. The three-man crew spends no more than 15 minutes to transfer the ammunition.

Special capacity

The TOS-1A is actually a multiple launch rocket system, but it bears little resemblance to the “Grad” or “Smerch”. Due to a number of features and peculiarities, special combat capabilities are achieved, including those that give advantages over traditional-looking MLRSs.

A characteristic feature of the «Buratino» and «Solntsepek» is the tank chassis with anti-shell armor. Initially this was a forced measure due to the limited range of the heavy projectile. However, due to this, the TOS-1(A) can operate at or near the front line. After the appearance of new longer-range projectiles, the protection has not lost its importance.

«Solntsepek» is equipped with an advanced and effective fire control system. It monitors a number of important parameters and calculates data for firing with high accuracy. As a result, increased accuracy of hits and minimal scattering are ensured. The deviation from the aiming point can not exceed several meters.

TOS-1A Solntsepek in Ukraine

Conventional MLRSs use mostly high-explosive high-explosive munitions. The MO.1.01.04 series is equipped with a high explosive charge. The thermobaric principle of engagement makes it possible to destroy manpower, equipment and buildings more effectively both in the open terrain and indoors. Such a warhead has an advantage in the solid destruction radius and is better at destroying various structures and causing damage to those inside. In addition, large areas can be hit, either with a single projectile or with a full salvo.

However, there are objective limitations. For example, due to the limited range of fire TOS-1(A) is forced to work directly on the front line. It potentially falls within the range of enemy artillery or missile systems. The volumetric detonating ammunition has limited capabilities against armored vehicles. At the same time, the choice of missiles for the “Solntsepek is small, which reduces the flexibility of its possible use.

However, shrewd planning of the strike, the use of cover, etc. allow to level the effect of negative factors. In addition, «Solntsepek» can be complemented by other multiple rocket launchers with the necessary functions and qualities. In this case, all the planned objectives will be achieved with minimal restrictions.

On the battlefield

This is not the first time domestic heavy flamethrower systems have been used in real-world operations. For example, the first cases of using «Buratino» took place back in Afghanistan in the late eighties. Subsequently, such equipment was repeatedly used in local conflicts, both by the Russian army and by foreign operators. In all cases high efficiency was demonstrated.

Fascists in Ukraine

The TOS-1A is now involved in a Special Warfare operation. They are tasked with destroying the enemy and their positions at a distance from civilian infrastructure. High accuracy and ammunition power make such work easier — and understandably speed up Ukraine’s demilitarization process.